Monday, February 28, 2011

Plusses and Minuses


I finally have a personal post about my riding up on my page view standings. What I mean by that is for this week, I Blew Him a Kiss has more hits than other posts I have made about Pro Teams. Really, the only reason most of the traffic is on those posts is because I name drop and google searches will swing people my way because of it. But I'm not complaining.  I like to see that I my blog is getting consistent traffic. It keeps me motivated to post... even about nothing. I will however, shamelessly promote my blog on fbook and twitter (hopefully not too much)... I'm proud of this thing.

Fitness is getting up. I am feeling stronger this week than I have in months. I'll say that that is kudos to the longer training hours and some weight loss (a plus within a plus that's also a minus). I'm down about 16 lbs from my bday (which coincided with other various things happening in my life) and I am still looking to lose more before my racing begins in Morgantown, WV.

Third plus I could say will be that Spring Break is approaching next week. I will really enjoy the opportunity to hopefully ride with new people in Virginia. Of course I am really looking forward to seeing who I want to see there and my family.
My good friend and I. I'm on the phone for some pizza.

I have to keep it honest here. I need to buckle down and score some better grades. I'm not about to fail anything, nor am I going to make excises, but I know where I've faltered and it's not about to get any easier. I've got some studying to do.


You know how it goes. I just need to get in a better groove and not let my schoolwork suffer from other commitments and youthful actions. I've got to keep on the positives and hustle on the negatives. I am really looking forward to this break next week. I've got some stuff to get done then too. Also, anyone want to hire me upon graduation? That would be sweet. Ignore that part about my grades for one sec. I'm a smart kid.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I Blew Him a Kiss

True story. Now for those who know my cycling, you may well know how I interact with drivers. Most of the time, if they leave me alone, I leave them alone. I will go out of my way to not be a nuisance, I will try to let them know when it may be safe to pass me, I will wave if they wave, I will try my best to be out of their way as soon as I can. But of course, there are times when adrenaline is pumping (in me), the ignorance is boiling over (in them), and my ego will certainly get the better of me.

I will speak for myself here. I know when I am in the wrong and I know when I feel wronged. I think of myself as a type of person that it will take a lot to get me mad. Either when things like my internet connection not working correctly or someone, I feel, is being so terribly ignorant or going out of their way to be rude to me or a close friend. Anyway, today I had another moment with a driver making me boil over. But instead of cursing at him I blew him a kiss. I'll set it all up for you...

My new teammate and next year's cycling club president, David and I set out to do a nice 2 hour ride. I'll say about 20 minutes in we are moving nicely and talking a bit. Whenever a car pull up behind us, one of us will fall behind the other to allow for an easy pass by the car. This happens all the time and drivers will recognize this and sometimes give a nice wave as a "thank you." (I wave back.) What drivers sometimes do not recognize is what a cyclist cannot do. I cannot always hear a car coming up. The wind is passing over my ears that are covered by a hat no less and we cannot ride always looking backwards. When we do not see or hear a car coming up from behind they will either sit on us patiently waiting for us to notice or simply go wide into the other lane and drive on by. What bugs me is when they lay on their horns to scream their presence like we are not allowed to be on the road. That is what one driver felt like doing to us today and heaven forbid we just didn't notice and he was there for more than 20 seconds.

Upon hearing the announcement David and I swung to the right side of the road (no, we weren't taking up the whole road either) and I fell behind to get a look at our seemingly impatient driver. He passed by giving me a stare back and after he had passed I put my right hand up to my lips and blew him a kiss... with a bow no less. I will describe it... (as I did to someone I had to share this with) as an overly exaggerated gesture to "his highness" in the car.  Now don't think I knew what I was doing. I didn't. It was dumb and I am an idiot. Surely it could have been worse, but what happened next makes me laugh. Accidents and situations in cycling always seem to have that taste that "it could've been worse." Maybe that's what keeps us coming back and never faulting to setbacks and suffering.

Upon seeing some gesture from this dumb cyclist in his rearview mirror he slams on the brakes (this happens... I am an idiot more often than I would like to admit) and he actually opened his door to talk to me. I wasn't about to have a conversation with him so I was going to roll on by, but he did ask me "Did you just give me the finger?" "NO!" I replied back, then adding "It was a kiss!" just to clear the air. He got back in his car and passed again, this time with no honking and no rebuttal from me. Had he just waited for us to move over when we saw him he could have been on his way much quicker. We don't ever try to use up the whole road nor hold anyone up. Simple.

In the past I will admit I have given the finger, yelled curse words, and certainly tried to piss driver off after I feel they've put me in danger or been a jerk (I won't react every time...). I have had close calls, road rage drivers, and even a lit cigarette flicked at me while riding. At a certain point, yes a cyclist needs to ride defensively and protect their right to ride and share the road, but actively provoking a driver is never a good thing to do. Some people simply do not know what to do with a cyclist on the road. Others will be having a bad day. Some might just hate cyclists. In any case, I will have to keep my cool and not provoke anyone for an altercation. I get it.

In other news, I almost got hit by a mountain biker on the road during this ride too. I was working on sprints with David at the end of our ride and this one girl must have just been looking to make a turn around on the road and was simply not expecting anything to be going by her. I was going between 25-30mph and she decided to make her turn around and I was not expecting that one. I had to swerve out of that situation and no, I didn't have much to say to her other than "whoa whoa whoa WHOA WHOA!" I believe she yelled a quick "Sorry!" after realizing what had (and narrowly had not) just happened and life goes on. I also tried on some new warming gel for my legs. It felt okay. I think today got cold enough that anything will get cold, but the gel certainly helped. It at least made me fee more badass for not wearing leg warmers and looking tougher than I am.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Things I do

Aside from posting a so called "GPOY" every now and then I will go the extra mile for some little things. Mostly what I'm thinking of is something I decided to do months ago. I noticed that although my $80 cycling glasses were awesome for costing me only $25, they did not match anything in my cycling apparel.

Now, okay. I know. Before you go on and tell me that I'm stupid, crazy, weird, in need of a reality check as to what matter in life, I get it. I know. But judgements aside, it bugged me. The frames were a navy blue and all I own is black, red, white, and a touch of silver (which is going to be dealt with in a similar manner) as far as my cycling apparel goes. Don't get me wrong. Navy blue just might be my favorite color, but that's out of the saddle and a part of my "you're more of a 'winter' type of person" looks. The navy blue frames did not stick out either. I know. No one would guess, much less care, but if you know me... those little things will start to bug me after a while. And keep in mind, I have certainly thought about getting "better" glasses, but have chosen not to. They aren't broken, and whatever is bugging me about them can just turn into a little project for me. Win.

A few months ago I decided to take up that project, change the color and slap a few layers of black acrylic paint on them. It was cheap and the little amount I got would last me a long as I needed. Well turns out, as I had feared, the polished plastic frames did not allow for the acrylic to adhere too well and the layers were easy to flake off and not entirely satisfy my unnecessary task.
I let it go for a while knowing that I would need give some sandpaper a go on these before I tried painting them again. I have just found some sandpaper that I knew would pop up somewhere so I wouldn't have to go buy any. It's pretty fine at a 320 rating, but it is has got the job done.
This is simply what the frames look like now. Nothing pretty, but I'm happy with how my project is going. All I need to figure out is what color I will go with [first]. Black (which I cannot find at the moment), white (should stand out well), or red/maroon (would match the helmet/kit/bike nicely). I am open to suggestion, but am leaning towards white or the ever-trusty black. I'm not the type to throw up an odd, real stand-out color like pink (Rapha wunna-bes). Just doesn't suit me. Remember, an off color put me up to this to begin with. And... I can always change the colors any time I want. This might turn into something I do.... Keep things fresh, just for you.
This painting project is simple and something I will also dare to liken to my keeping up with this blog... with a post like this. It's ridiculous and I don't see why anyone should care, but I don't care if they don't. Simple as that. Again, thanks for reading. I do appreciate that.

Filming IUP Cycling

Looks like I'm going to have to make the young-guns shave their legs whether they like it or not. IUP Cycling is going to be on camera this spring racing season. I have recently found out a good friend of mine from Indiana, Pa is ready, able, and excited to lead a production team.

There is a lot about cycling that is left ambiguous to most people. What I have spent so much of my time working for and sacrificing for is something I want to continue to share with everyone around me. Personalities play a huge role in this sport and I want to show more of what cycling means to so many.

In my head, that production team will capture IUP cyclists in varying aspects of of their development, training, racing, and whatever else happens in meetings, pre-race discussions and post-race reactions. There will be success and lessons learned and the more of that we can capture, the better. At this point the idea is certainly in it's early stages and the ultimate direction that this will take is yet to be determined. I am open to suggestion and as many ideas as we can figure out.

As much as I would love to be the driving force on this endeavor that role will be taken up by my aforementioned friend. He is the one that will have the final say about this project and endeavor. I trust his abilities and vision and I know that he will put his best efforts into this.

Again, the project's scope and entire direction is still being uncovered to us. That being said, the more people that could help us out the better it can be. Schedules conflict and w are all students here. Quality and professionalism will not be sacrificed at any point in this project and I expect a final piece that will make anyone who participated very proud of their work and efforts. I would appreciate anyone interested in helping (mostly filming) to contact me for more information. There is a lot more that I can brief you on and we are hoping to make this set a new standard for IUP Cycling and other cycling teams.

Again, please let me know if you have any interest in helping out. It would mean a lot! No experience is necessary!!! Thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I think I'm getting better at this

It's true. I think I might have figured out what I can do to vamp up this blog a bit. Remember that "Monday Mornings" blog series I was thinking of doing. Well I have just thought of another idea for a series type of addition to my blog. I'll call it "Where's The Podium? #_."

I thought up that title, "Where's The Podium?" last week pondering about this blog I have here. I don't spend too much time thinking about this blog, but I do put effort into it. At any rate, I was thinking how "Where's The Podium?" might have been a more appropriate question I might ask myself, upon garnering success in a race since there will always be at least a symbolic "podium" of 1-2-3 finishers rather than an actual trophy. Once I got over the fact that I should be happy with what I've titled this and how it all began for me, I kind of let the title slip from my ponderings.

Until Just now. I am in the middle of sanding down my cycling classes frames (they're due for a new paint color) and I thought.... why not combine that Monday Mornings (race recounting) idea with that "Where's The Podium?"idea and make a blog series out of that? "Perfect." thinks I. Even if i don't personally make a podium spot... 

So there you have it. A bit of my creative genius displayed. It should work out nicely as some of my racing will take place on Tuesdays anyway. Also, it will be a nice way for me to keep track of the racing I do in a season and let you all in on my thoughts therein. Intriguing stuff. 

On another note, I have made a successful surprise visit to my parents this weekend (started my drive there at 5:00 am) in Fairfax, Va and I have got to find decent rides to do. I can ride through my and nearby neighborhoods, but those get old real fast and I just don't know how to deal with all the traffic. Not that I don't think I can ride on busy roads, it's just there are so many and they are just not fun with people who hardly respect other drivers much less an oddity like a cyclist. Learning where I can find good rides around here is just another reason why I wanted to find a well established team in Fairfax. I'll learn from the local riders and figure things out. Until then, I do know of a nice trail I will give a shot. I want to aim for 50 miles tomorrow. It'll be fun. I just have to wake up early so I can enjoy the rest of the day with someone I've been looking forward to seeing again for a long time (maybe not that long, but it feels like it has been, you know?) Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Outside In Indiana

I've been looking forward to riding outside for a while. Really I think it has turned into me looking forward to warmer weather. Pretty simple. I had really forgotten how fast my bike is/feels. I don't mean to round-about say that I'm fast. No, but my bike is. 15.5 lbs is going to be faster than 18.5 lbs+ like I was rocking last year. (R.I.P. Bella) At any rate, today's workout was well anticipated and worth getting excited for. Sprints!

It did not get as warm as I had thought/hoped it might, but I was well protected.
The Spread.
Let's see... in order of what I put on... I've got a heart rate monitor, core base layer, two pairs (yes two) of arm warmers, leg warmers, bib shorts, jersey, winter shoe covers, wind/waterproof liner gloves, wind/waterproof outer gloves, warm cycling specific cap, eyewear, multi tool, and cell phone. Oh wait.... I have to pull cell phone back out and check if I have any missed texts. Whoops I've now got to answer them all since I'm so freakin' popular. Pop that bad boy back in the rear pocket after letting everyone know "it'll have to wait, people... I've got a ride to do," and I'm ready to go.

It was all just the right amount of clothing for the ride. I did the nice, familiar IUP Cycling "training route" followed by three "race effort" sprints. I will say they were a far cry from any "race caliber" sprints. Sprinting is something needs practice as much as climbing and other various disciplines in cycling. Although, as I have described before, sprinting involves a lot, it takes practice to dial in and refine those senses getting your body and mind in the same place. Today, being my first sets of sprints, proved to me that I need to work on that orientation. That didn't stop me from having fun tho!
Fun! Also note the hair under the cap under the helmet... success!
There you have it. I've got 13lbs to chop hopefully around mid-April. I think I calculated that that's about  a 7.5% drop in overall body weight. I'm not exercise phyz-wiz so I don't know all what that means, but I thought I would share. I'm no math man either so my calculation could be off, but I'm at 173lbs. I have a friend that took interest in my diet habits for her major and various projects. I hope to work with her more and understand a little bit better about my eating and what habits I should work on.

For now, my diets is centering around fruits, veggies, nuts, whole wheat products like bread and pasta, and fish! Nom! I need more pasta!

Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 14, 2011

One - Percent Differences

I would love to be a perfectionist when it comes to my cycling equipment, bikes, position, and possibilities thereof. I guess I am making due with what I can. I want the best out of what I've got. I've got nice stuff and am limited by my lack of money and time. What I can be a perfectionist about is myself. My discipline to training, my weight, habits on and off the bike, and every aspect that has to do with my goals and aspirations. The power of the mind is my one-percent. Attitude, persistence, and drive all make the difference. Knowing when to back off, making patience a teammate, and riding to the best of my abilities every given chance is what will bring me success.

Here's what got me thinking all of this.

Heart Pounding

Things are getting closer and closer to the new season. I'm still trying to iron out how I want to attack it and make the most of the races I go for. I am racing to win. each. race. I do. I've got nothing but success in my sights. Thinking about the races I've done, won, and lost make me excited to have another crack at it all. Even thinking about my workout scheduled for tomorrow is making my heart patter with anticipation and nerves.
I know I've used this before, but I knew I won that preme lap. (I like how it looks too, okay?)
The nerves aren't the kind like I'm scared of anything, but that when I think about sprinting, going for the line, putting everything I have into every pedal stroke, it's like being on another level on my bike. My awareness goes up. I feel everything. I sense how my body moves - balancing each pedal drive, expanding and compacting lungs, where and when my fingers move gear shifting up only to call for more power from my already burning legs. It's all there. I sense where other people are. Any quick glance to the left or right - I'm taking in so much information. I will know how my speed is compared to theirs. I will know if I will get to the line before them. I will know how much pain I am in and can almost sense theirs. I will know where I need to point my drive and whether or not I will be the victor or not. This awareness is evident every time you see a professional rider raise his/her arms on the line when to nearly every spectator it was too close to call. When you win, you knew before anyone else... except for those sprinting with you... they knew they were going to lose (some mistakes happen tho...).
D2 wants out!
I figure I will focus on my sprinting abilities. Tomorrow's workout calls for sprints at race effort. I am going to drive at it as hard as I can. Tomorrow will be the coldest of the week, but apparently the sun will be out. That's encouraging. I know it's probably too early to be calling for continued warmer weather, but I'm going to enjoy it as much as I can. Getting some outside riding/handling experience will be important too. The trainer is no way to keep my riding sharp. I'm not about to drop money on a set of rollers no matter how many heckles I get from The Roller Cam.

I've also been thinking of selling my Garmin 305. I can live without uploading all my data and I have never used it for an navigation purposes. I will probably stick with it for a bit. No need to fix something that isn't broke (the speedometer magnet sensor is broke... cadence is fine tho. how annoying is that?) Relying on gps to assess my speed is not too accurate. That alone almost makes it worth swapping for a Cateye or Vetta. I'll live.

Sprints tomorrow! Tinie Tempah - Wonderman Ft. Ellie Goulding

Friday, February 11, 2011

Picture Fail

As I was trying to get the right photos for my kit post I had a lot of trial and error pictures. One in particular...
I don't suppose you can see why it is I am wincing real badly here, but have a guess...(clip-in slip) I had to take a breather after this one. Also.... note that I cropped out that hair for the kit shot used too.
Had a few complete misses on the kit.
Gotta work on that aim...
That's better, but still a miss and not good enough for the one I have used and eventually cropped. I made the process a lot harder than it needed to be, but I am happy to show off the new look. I hesitate to provide any more pictures or angles of the kit, really, than these. I will be having the team going to a renowned photographer's studio to get pro-esk photos taken of the team with their kits and bikes. Look for those down the road and us on the road in the spring!

This Hair

I don't know if I'm getting attached to it's length or not, but something scary happened today. I actually pictured myself with keeping this length - even longer - in the future. Whoa. Weird. I'm the kind of kid who has always had "short" hair. I've always dreaded going to get it cut. I can be a self-conscious person. As a kid, I would get buzz cuts. Quick, easy, predictable, and you can't get it wrong. Whether it was out of ease for my mom cutting it or my own weirdness, I would just go for that. As I got older and certainly more self-conscious as a preteen and all, the hair became difficult accessory.

I've made many mistakes with it along the way too! Oh wow. Yeah, I don't think I will go into any amount of detail about those, but who hasn't made them!?! Then again I feel like I've done some pretty cool stuff with it too!

What I'm getting at, however, is that I am now wearing my hair the longest I have ever let it grow. I'm not about to measure it, but it goes past the tip of my nose in the front. What has really bothered me in the past has been those awkward stages. My hair is thick and when I wash it, poofy! I hate poof! grrr. Now, I do still wash it. Just because I don't like the poof doesn't mean I'm gonna lose hygiene over it. However, I have found a way to curb the poof and control my hair. I think it can only be done in these winter months - beanie. I have rocked the beanie all winter.

This beanie has been my weapon? defense? and allowed me to sort of bypass some awkward stages. Bad hair day!? No worries... hat is going on anyway. But what is going to happen when riding outside comes along? Will my helmet fit on all my hair? Will my helmet fit after I've tossed on a winter cycling cap on all my hair? I do not know. I guess I could try it out, sure, but I don't feel like getting my helmet from my car now. Anyway. That is the question.

Look at me... am I worrying that I may have to cut my hair? It gives me a new look though. A look I have never known... experienced... shown off? I kinda feel like I can pull it off too. But what about when I have no winter hat to put on? Bad hair day... pull it back? I can maybe see it getting that long. Do I want it that long? I guess time till tell. By the warmer months and Virginia humidity I am pretty sure I will want to chop it. No big deal. (I know... I say that now...)

Thank for reading this post. Riding is all the same really. The Roller Cam helps a lot too. Training hours are passing like a breeze. making new friends and enthusiasts is great! Shout out to Ernest. He's a cool dude who has really been finding some love in the cycling community and culture. Thanks for reading this rather pointless post. I will be trying to get some better content up soon! (I know pictures would have been a good touch for this post, but apparently my ex gf took the ones I had in mind with her... shame)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quick Post- RePost - New Kit!

Oh baby! VOmax Techwear has come through and I couldn't be happier.
Yes, please.
Here is a profile shot of the kits that I have been spreading around my various internet sites. (Fbook and Twitter: @JohnnyBrison) I am really happy with how they came out and the new feel of the bib shorts is  great. (Also note how nicely they match my bike!) I know there have been a few upgrades to these from last year and I very much appreciate the work done in the fabrics, padding, and overall appearance of the kit. I was happy to have such a large part in the designing process. I do not mean to say I had everything to do with what was finally put on the shorts. VOmax was right there working to figure out what I had in mind and this is exactly it. 

At this point I am getting used to the new feel of the kit. I like the changes they have made and I just have to get used to a different feel down where it counts. I am very proud of them and the whole team is excited about being able to race these kits in the upcoming season and beyond.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Look Back Racing 2010. #2

Season’s Final Race

The Tour de Strongland was a fun one this year. With a new course and smaller field, only the committed were up to the task of enjoying this 22nd annual race. I was not sure how my form would hold up and I believe I did alright considering life as it stands.
Myself and 3 other racers seemed to be the only ones willing to face the wind and push the pace during our 20.8 mile race. There were some decent climbs but nothing to write home about. I was hoping there would be a major climb like last year’s course, but I was happy to be in the lead group of 7. 
About 3/4 of the way through one rider was really above the rest. He had only done a few crits all season and this, being his only road race, proved to be all he needed to secure a solo win. He held a lead on us chasing for a decisive and impressive victory.
I felt good during the race. Near the end I was feeling a bit strained, but could hold my own. I made the same mistake this year that I did last- trying to bridge an insurmountable gap to the leader. I launched an attack on the group way too far from the finish with no hope of catching the leader’s wheel, keeping a gap on the group chasing, nor being able to have any energy to latch on as they all passed me or even have a recovery for a strong finish at the line. I am not upset, but more eager to address this rookie mistake next season with more patience for my sprint/ attack. I finished 6th as we had dropped another racer from our lead group.
I am very glad I raced and was not deterred by the rain that morning or questions of my form. 
On an unrelated note, I found a turtle about to cross the highway on the way back. I stopped, ran back, picked him up, and with my girlfriend, placed him in a beautifully secluded, wooded park in Indiana. We think Tangerine will like his new home!

Thanks for reading.

A Look Back Racing 2010. #1

New Race, Same Place.

Tonight at the “Bud” Cycling Oval in Pittsburgh I raced my first “B” race as a cat4. This B race was with cat4s and cat3s only. This was a different kind of race. Apparently breakaways don’t usually sick in the B race, but tonight I found myself trying to hang on to a 5 man break with about 15 laps to go. This being my first upgraded race, I wanted to be fresh, aware of, and ready for every move that was happening.
There were a few other attacks and break attempts, but I knew some wouldn’t really stick. I found myself chasing a lot after being blocked by teammates of guys in the break. Advantage goes to them, but I was left a few times to catch someone else’s wheel or ride my own effort to catch up to a break.
That 5 man break I mentioned spat me out with I don’t even know how many laps to go. We had about a half a lap (1/4 mile) lead on the peloton. I caught a strong rider’s move to bridge back up with his brother in a then 3 man break. I held on as long as I could noting my constant 195-6 bpm heart rate. Seeing the amount of laps left, even with our lead over the peloton, I knew I was gonna be really taxed to keep up. 
I got dropped and rode through the “no man’s land” between the break and the peloton. Once caught, I knew I had to grab whatever wheel I could and recover for the final sprint. On the last lap I was sitting nicely, but I was again blocked by a teammate of a guy in the break giving up. I missed the wheel of a surge for the line. I am happy to say I still came out top ten with an 8th place. I rode hard and got compliments for my racing. 
This race was fun and tough. I am excited for next week!

I had written this on another blog of mine and thought that it really deserved to be here. This is where I'll be posting such things. Anyway, I have more or less plotted out where I plan to begin my 2011 racing. The above was my first race as a Cat4 and it was late in the season so I'm looking to keep on training and hope momentum from this showing carries on for the next year. One more race summary to add after this.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mind Blown

I have to write this now while I still have the excited mojo flowing. I read this tweet from Jeremy Powers today. "Go to and join in on the fun @@ and @ are there live commentating... "

This got me wondering what was. I investigate and I find exactly what it is. Cyclists on rollers and trainers "Broadcasting" their rides for the world to see. Jpows and Ted King were there chatting it up with people... and me! How cool is that!?!

Now I get how some of you may not think this is cool and really don't understand what is up with what I'm talking about. Here it is. I don't know how it started or who started it, but this site is really all about beating that boredom so many face with winter training. I think someone said that usually only new england folk are there... which makes sense. I don't see them riding outside much up there these days...
Anyway, the site is like a chat room for the bored indoor slaves of training and even some fans!
Basically, this is how I rocked it. I was a little nervous before. I mean. Indoor training... I'm not one to usually have spectators... fans even. I had a blast!

Todays ride was particularly better than yesterdays. I had an hour and a half with "Spin-Ups." For those that don't know and... well it will make sense why i'm telling you now... For the spin-up workout, I have to warm up nicely and then for a minute build up my spinning cadence to a max, and then try to hold that max for as long as I can. I repeated this after rests 5 times throughout my workout. I have to keep in mind my breathing and relaxation of my legs and feet and just let the legs spin. The fastest I've been able to read on my computer is 180 rpms. 

Anyway, I talked up the workout a bit to those watching and they were digging it! They were happy to see some suffering and a little painface to the site. I was happy to give it. It's a bit flashy, but I had fun and it's a once a week kind of workout.

One fellow in particular ("corgi") made a drinking game out of it! I have no idea who he is, but he chugged a beer at I think 4 of my spin-ups when he saw what was up. This turned into a great workout and I am already meeting some really cool kids and dare I say... fans?! This totally makes up for yesterday and I'll be back tomorrow for a 4 hour ride. I will say it made me look better than I am, but it's all about the fun. If anyone wants to see me ride... anyone can. It's great. Have a chat... I'll be trying to find some way to ignore how monotonous my trainer rides usually are and I hope to meet some of these people at races and make some cool friends.

Thanks for reading and new readers too!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pain and Anger

Today's trainer ride was probably the worst I have yet to have. It is hard to explain or sum up, but I will try to give a picture of it. Honestly, I have never been more angry (about pain) on a bike ride.

Today's workout called for three hours total with an "M2" workout tossed in. That M2 is described as a set amount of time in a zone 3 heart rate. Last week, I had the exact same workout and I felt great about it... during and after. Even before I have a sort of anxious excitement. A lot of workouts will have me going for this amount of time in just a zone 2 hr, but with the season creeping closer, I'm "allowed" to get my hear rate up during workouts a little more. It is fun to be able to do this. Something to break up the monotony is welcomed so before this ride, as I'm walking to and from classes, I am kind of waiting to just get to the ride and finally feel a bit more than usual.

Anyway, during last week's workout I decided that I would go with an hour and 15 minutes at a zone 3 heart rate inside the three hours. The most I'm "allowed" to do is an hour and a half, so I figured I would work up to an hour and a half for this week since it is going to be my longest week yet (some effort.... some pain... no big deal). So, after an hour and 20 minutes of not-so-great zone 2 riding, I crank up my intensity and try to figure out where I would find a nice zone 3 heart rate. Only problem... my legs were screaming!

I couldn't get it. Why was I feeling like I was pushing such a high gear? I was examining my bike computer expecting my heart rate to begin to go way up, but it didn't. I wasn't understanding. I then checked my breathing and noticed it wasn't any harder than I might expect. I wasn't sucking wind, but my legs felt like they were driving through mud. I had plenty of water and have been working on drinking throughout the day for hydration's sake. I even make a quick check to my rear brake-pads to see if they were somehow rubbing my rims, but even if they were, and that was causing me to be strained... my heart rate would be going up. Another glance back at my computer was telling me I should be fine.

All during this, I was getting mad. Angry. I couldn't understand why my legs were bitching and my heart rate wasn't sky-rocketing. Now I'm getting really mad. My legs were not allowed to be in so much pain. Not now. Not this early... or even late in my training. And this pain was happening right as I upped my gears. It wasn't how it usually happens... maybe after a goo tough hour or two of riding and/or riding at a higher heart rate. I had a good breakfast and lunch too. I could feel my furrowed brow and my anger driving through my pedal strokes.

I have never felt this emotion on the bike before and I didn't like it. I was angry and I was not going to let myself quit. I don't mean to say "look at what I can go through." No. I mean it was as if I was so mad at my legs for hurting like that, that I was not going to stop and give in. If they wanted to hurt and keep hurting, I would give them a reason to. I have no idea what kind of wattage I was putting out and I frankly don't care. My heart rate was steady in zone 3 and I was going to suffer through this.

My "not-so-good" zone 2 of an hour and 20 minutes before this serious pain was admittedly really bad. My left leg felt like it was not getting blood. That is just my guess. There was like dulling, numb-tingling feeling coupled with a little more pain than I usually encounter. My right leg was not much better, but I could really feel something was off in my left. I don't know if this is what caused it. It certainly didn't make my heart try to pump any faster when I upped the gears. I just don't get it. I even thought to pull up a fan and plop it on my desk, facing it towards me, (something I never do) aiming it at my core, to see if maybe I was overheating and that would lower the pain in my legs. That didn't work and again, I would just suffer through.

They say suffering is a real part of cycling. I'm not going to get all philosophical about this, but I remembered that today. I was angry. I was mad like how I get mad when something doesn't work as it should... like when my cycling computer won't turn on, and there is no reason (that I can figure out) why it won't. Except, I was really mad today and I think it was because I couldn't blame it on my bike or some faulty component. It was me. I was the one not functioning correctly. I am someone that can be very hard on himself. I couldn't get why I wasn't working right, but I know things will be better. I'm not worried.

Thanks if you read this whole stupid rant. Nothing was really resolved, I know.

To Match

Alright. I realize I may be biting off more than I can chew on these, but I can't help but dream.
Those are some sweet 50mm deep carbon tubular wheels from Ritchey. I think they would go nicely with my Ritchey stem, handlebars, seat post, and water bottles. I didn't think I would become such a fan of Ritchey's components, but I might as well! Also, I was thinking of grabbing some of their chain lube. Maybe one day I can nab a sponsorship from them. I can dream...

I know I did't write anything for my Monday post yesterday... Nothing really happened this weekend and all I have coming up this week is my longest # of hours on the bike. good for me? eh. see? not a big deal. When there's a race to report I'll be sure to post, but maybe I just need to get some other bright idea for a "post series." I'm open to suggestion.

If you haven't read this interview yet, and you've got some time, do give it a go. Floyd spills all! I have my opinions, but I don't know much.